Plan to eat at least one locally grown food a day during Buy Local Week, July 23-31–Berger cookies don’t count, unfortunately–and you’ll join more than 2500 Marylanders who have made the promise to shop local farms, farm stands, farmers’ markets, wineries, and grocers in our great vegetative state. Restaurants serving local goodies are another purely convenient resource. (Woodberry Kitchen, Clementine, whose website lists farm suppliers, The Yabba Pot, The Dogwood, Classic Catering and Chef’s Expressions catering companies are but a few. Keep in mind: It’s not too late to ask your favorite restaurant proprietor to join the movement). Even Governor O’Malley has endorsed the good-for-us goal. He’ll host Maryland’s fourth “Buy Local Cookout” at the Government House in Annapolis on July 21 (invite only), when local food recipe finalists will serve up yummy dishes, and a homegrown winner among chefs shall be crowned.

Click here to take the Buy Local pledge + pluck more nourishing information.
Dig up additional locally grown news here and here.

Donate Your Pennies: Poe House in Poorhouse


The historic Poe House at 203 Amity Street lost $85,000 in city funding last year–they’ve been told to expect no further support–and is temporarily closed while EAP-loving local volunteers scramble to assemble funds to reopen the museum building to the public.

Enthusiastic Poe-studying students in Mr. Zimmerman’s history class at the Crossroads School in Fells Point have raised about $500 to save the house from closure. Local writer Rafael Alvarez, a former Sun reporter, now president of the Poe Society of Baltimore, encouraged the middle schoolers to take up a down-home drive, Pennies for Poe, inspired by historic events.

More than 150 years ago, local schoolchildren began collecting pennies to purchase a marker for Poe’s grave–you may recall, the author died scary broke and alone in 1849, at (gasp) 40. Finally, back then, a few businessmen got word and pitched in, bringing the grand tombstone total to $1200 and ensuring that the author’s grave would include a legit headstone to praise his name.

Alvarez has extended “Pennies” by enlisting several local establishments to feature a Poe House donation fishbowl or coffee can (see bar/restaurant list below). He’ll visit more city schools this fall to talk Poe facts and invite kids to fund-raise.

“Not everyone who comes to Baltimore confines their adventures to the Inner Harbor. Many tourists–along with locals–wander to see the more obscure gems of Crabtown, like the house on Amity Street where Edgar Allan Poe lived for a time with his wife and mother-in-law and is said to have written the ever-fabulous ‘MS. Found in a Bottle,’” Alvarez says. “We are collecting so many pennies that a search is on for a well-hidden, secure and empty swimming pool to fill with pennies. Pennies will save the Poe House as sure as William Donald Schaefer still knows where an abandoned and burned out car waits to be towed away by the Department of Public Works.”

A sizable swimming pool of change might just do it. There’s still a long way to go to reach the foundation’s $85,000-deep goal, so dig beneath your sofa cushions, pat under your car floor mats, and break the piggy bank. Help keep the horror master’s doors from creaking creepily shut for evermore.

Make checks payable to:
DIRECTOR OF FINANCE, City of Baltimore
put the words POE HOUSE in memo line.

Mail donations to:
Jeff Jerome (Poe House curator)
c/o Baltimore City Department of Planning, 8th Floor
417 East Fayette Street Baltimore, MD 21202

Or drop your spare change in collection jars at:

G&A Hot Dogs at 3802 Eastern Avenue

The Laughing Pint at 3531 Gough

Pub 1919 at 1919 Fleet Street

Fireworks! Parades! Fun! Today is the Fourth!

Roland Park Parade, 2011. Photo by Susan Dunn.


Fourth of July firework displays and parades abound today.  Take the time to get outdoors and enjoy your friends and neighbors.  (Take your mind off  the power outages and storm damage too!)

The list of firework displays below comes from the Office of the State Fire Marshal and includes the organizations that have received permits to display fireworks tonight and tomorrow night. Some of the firework displays are private — the country clubs, for sure — but if you can find a spot nearby, you can enjoy the spectacle, too.

If we have left out your neighborhood parade, please let us know at [email protected] and we will add it to the parade list.

Our team at Baltimore Fishbowl will be enjoying a relaxed work schedule tomorrow so we can spend the day with family and friends, too.

Happy 4th!

Fireworks – July 4

Baltimore’s Inner Harbor
401 Light Street
Baltimore, MD 21202

Time: 9:30

Catonsville High School (rain date: July 7)
421 Bloomsbury Avenue, Catonsville 21228

Time: 9:15

Fullerton Park (rain date: July 5)
4304 Fullerton Avenue, Baltimore 21236

Time: 9:00

Grange Elementary School (rain date: July 6)
2000 Church Road, Dundalk 21222

Time: 9:15

Greenspring Valley Hunt Club (rain date: July 5)
30 Greenspring Valley Road, 21117

Time: 9:00

Loch Raven Tech Academy (rain date: July 5)
8101 LaSalle Road, Baltimore 21286

Time: 9:15

Oregon Ridge Park (rain date: July 5)
13401 Beaver Dam Road, Cockeysville 21030

Time: 9:45


A Far East Hippie with American Style


Ken Wong, 27

What is your personal style? 

I am a hippie from the Far East!  When I was 10, my mother moved to Baltimore where I learned to speak English. I would speak Mandarin and Cantonese with my mother (still do).  As I grew up, I would visit family in Hong Kong and dressed in vintage Americana clothes from thrift stores when I traveled.

What are your tattoos?

They are the story of my life.

Like for example?

Here I have a tough guy tribal tattoo that was put on when I was competing in martial arts. I was 17 and it gave me strength.

And your hair?

It is a dredded Mohawk. It’s stylish and out there, but comfortable. I am a hairstylist so I don’t want to have to deal with my hair every day. Plus it’s cool.

Do you ever dress up?

For weddings and funerals.

What are you doing for the weekend?

I’m doing yoga tomorrow and going to listen to electronic music Saturday night. I’m crashing a Baltimore cookout on the fourth!

What Novels and Medical School Have in Common


Joanna Pearson is a doctor, poet, and — as of this week — published novelist. Her first young adult novel, The Rites and Wrongs of Janis Wills, was released by Scholastic this week, and is already racking up rave reviews. It’s a “laugh-out-loud debut” according to Kirkus; Publishers Weekly deemed it “rewarding, honest, and quite funny.” We caught up with Pearson to get the scoop on her book — and its release party, which happens this weekend.

Tell us about the novel.
It’s about a high school girl in North Carolina; she’s an aspiring anthropologist, and she uses anthropology as a way of coping with the quirks and challenges of small town life — including the annual Miss Livermush pageant that her mother is forcing her to enter.

You took a couple years off from Hopkins Med School to pursue your MFA in poetry. These days, you’re a psychiatry resident at Johns Hopkins Medical School — and you wrote a young adult novel. How do the medical and writing worlds intersect for you? Or are they opposite impulses?
I’ve always been interested in people, in trying to observe and understand people –I think it’s probably true for all writers and all doctors. In internal medicine and psychiatry, you’re really constructing a narrative. Good doctors are trying to understand a person, understand their life story. [When you’re writing,] you’re trying to understand what your character might do when faced with a given challenge or desire; [as a doctor,] you’re kind of trying to do the same thing with patients.

What are you working on next?
I’ve had an idea brewing for a while — something about a fifteen year old girl whose older brother might have a serious mental illness. I’d also love to do another more light/comic YA novel, too.

What’s the book release party on Saturday going to be like?
It’s going to be fun! My brother Lane is DJing, and I’m also very excited about the three guest readers. Mike Scalise is one of the most hilarious readers and writers I’ve ever encountered. Jessica Blau is well-beloved in Baltimore. And Jeff Colosino is another fantastic reader who’s prepared some new material. [All the readings] are very loosely based on the idea of adolescence. [The release party is at the Metro Gallery in Station North from 4-7pm. It’s free.]

Check out some of Pearson’s poems here, here, and here.

Broke & Beautiful Baltimore


Baltimore’s own “oddball subculture” will be featured this Friday on episode two of the IFC’s “Young, Broke & Beautiful,” which follows host “Broke-Ass” Stuart as he “visits cities, unearthing the oddball subcultures and experiences that make them excellent places for broke-ass travelers.”

So, despite the name, don’t expect Friday’s episode to focus on the city’s chronic poverty. Instead, prepare to view a moderately exploitative representation of local “broke-ass-ness” of a more glamorous, collegiate type.

My own cynicism notwithstanding, this episode could give those of us who don’t know the address of the secret warehouse venue (or which buzzer to press) a glimpse into just what has been putting Baltimore on the youth-culture map in recent years. Viewers will get a chance to see a warehouse performance by world class art-punks Double Dagger, as well as a basement “round-robin” style show from the headline-grabbing music and arts collective Wham City. (John Waters alum Mink Stole also makes an appearance.)

Just be sure to take the show’s representation with a grain of salt. At least some of the performances featured were specifically staged for the taping, and ultimately this picture of Baltimore’s underground music culture is subject to the whims of the show’s editors and producers. To what degree the final product will reflect reality, and to what degree it will just be some interesting television, remains to be seen.

The Baltimore episode of “Young, Broke & Beautiful” will air this Friday, July 1, at 11:00PM Eastern on the IFC channel.

Provocative New Resident Artist Julia Kim Smith


We are so psyched to announce Baltimore Fishbowl’s newest resident artist, Julia Kim Smith, a conceptual visionary whose work explores identity, memory and the artistic, social and political landscape. Julia is an interdisciplinary maker, switching deftly between performance, video, film, photography, and printmaking.

We love the way Julia’s images make us think, shudder and laugh, sometimes all at once. Recently, her amusing Shepard Fairey-esque tribute to Tiger Mother author Amy Chua got us grinning, and talking up a storm. 

Her newest photo series, “With Banksy,” in which Julia portrays herself hanging in domestic settings with Banksy, the faceless (he covers up), in-your-face legendary street artist, is a cool example of her uniquely brainy-funny-edgy-naughty style.

“Banksy pulls off no small feat by being both the anonymous artist and the famous artist at the same time,” Julia says. “But by being anonymous, he is like the historical anonymous woman—‘Anonymous was a woman’—and anyone can appropriate his identity. Which is exactly what I did in With Banksy: I appropriated his hooded identity and placed him in my own scenarios. Why should famous white men have all the fun?”

As the co-founder and curator of the 100 Survivors project–a collaborative photo and video project for women currently in treatment for breast cancer or diagnosed in the past three years–Julia is currently working with Linked By Air in New York on the development of the website,, a permanent monument and archive. The site is scheduled to go live in October.

Julia’s debut show at the Creative Alliance, in collaboration with writer David Beaudouin, in 2003, which explored the post-9/11 American psyche, was hailed by Glenn McNatt in The Baltimore Sun as “a stupendous achievement of minimalist, conceptual art that ought to forever lay to rest that such work is no more than a dry intellectual exercise.” Other shows include White Box, New York City, A.I.R. Gallery, Brooklyn, Los Angeles Art Association/Gallery 825, The LAB, San Francisco, Washington Project for the Arts, Washington, DC, The Metro Gallery, Station North, Maryland Art Place, Biblioteca Nacional de la República Argentina, Buenos Aires, Zentralbibliothek Zürich, and Aguilar Branch of the New York Public Library, New York City. She lives in Baltimore with her husband and three children.

Look for Julia’s first gallery sampling on our website July 1st–see Media Gallery, and enjoy.

Baltimore Named Fountain of Youthful Brain Power


A new study at ranks Baltimore 15th out of 385 metropolitan cities rich in young brain power, with 30.2 percent of our population between 18 and 34 in possession of a bachelor’s degree or higher. We love this uplifting concrete news, though it doesn’t exactly surprise us given how many stellar colleges and universities there are to be found in and around our town. We remember, too, that in 2009, The Daily Beast named Baltimore the 10th smartest U.S. city, based on education and intellectual environment, and in 2010 kept us rated high but dropped the ranking to 20th.

We personally know gobs of brainy young scientists, men and women who build robots, youthful people dedicated to cancer research, precocious scribes publishing first novels and poetry collections, painting wonderful murals, teaching disadvantaged kids to read and think for themselves and make music. But we also feel the pinch when our pals in D.C. tease us for being one of the fattest cities in the nation–we ranked 8th most overweight metro in Men’s Health in 2010. We greatly regret our frequently assigned “Murder Capital” nickname. And we can’t help but notice that many Baltimoreans we know, often the most well educated and insightful among them, tend to psychoanalyze our town as a victim of low city-self-esteem; we have to agree that Baltimore does occasionally seem to slouch in the tall, sharp shadow of our nation’s capital, and apologize for itself rather than find something to brag about. (D.C. in fact ranks number one for youthful brain bounty, by the way, with 38.8 percent of 18 to 34-year-olds holding college and graduate degrees.) And that’s a shame when there’s so much to celebrate locally.

Here’s an idea. The next time you feel like making a city-deprecating reference to the racist hillbilly population still residing in pockets of the city, or to the nutty thugs who seem hellbent on striding into your speeding car as they cross the street, or the abundant addicts who swear they just need a dollar to buy a bus pass home, try this cognitive-therapeutic exercise: Lose the bad hackneyed news, stand up straight, and remind yourself and your dinner guests that we’re also a city powered by vibrant youthful intellect. In coming decades, our best and brightest seem likely only to grow older and wiser, and our complex city that much prouder, stronger, and, who knows, maybe even physically fitter, in the educated bargain.

Travel is Patriotic, Maryland!


AAA Mid-Atlantic predicts more Marylanders will stay put this Fourth of July than last year, with projected holiday travel down 2.9 percent. But spokeswoman Ragina C. Averella put the numbers in context, saying, “Overall travel is robust, reflecting the second consecutive year of healthy travel figures after declines for the 2008 and 2009 holidays.”

The unspoken assumption in Averella’s statement is that “healthy travel figures” means more travel, because of course our primary responsibility as patriotic Americans is to ravenously consume.

Has anyone else noticed all the mixed messages we receive in an economic downturn? We have to tighten our belts and save responsibly, but on the other hand, don’t stop spending; our economy depends on it.

Four years ago local businesses and attractions began pushing the “staycation” as the financially responsible alternative to discretionary family travel in a recession. Now we are being guilted into making more unnecessary trips, which means more unnecessary expenditures.

And what happened to environmental concerns about burning excessive amounts of gasoline? And is unchecked consumption really the appropriate response to rising prices and a strained supply?

More and more, it seems, we have a fractured and contradictory vision of civic duty. Our personal, economic, and environmental goals are often at cross-purposes.

Like many Marylanders, I had no plans to travel this Fourth of July. But maybe I’ll do my patriotic duty to prop up our travel figures by making a quick trip to the Pennsylvania border and increase our gross domestic product by consuming some explosive patriotic contraband.

Young Blood: MAP MFA Grad Show Opens Tonight


Sponsored Post – Mark your calendar with a capital A for art: Wednesday evening, June 29th, from 6 to 8, Young Blood, Maryland Art Place’s annual MFA grad show—one of the organization’s most popular events, now in its fourth year—features painting, sculpture, video, drawing, and interactive performance by recent grads with talent to burn. We are so there.

Curated by the MAP Program Advisory Committee, which is chaired by artist, writer, and teacher Cara Ober, the exhibition provides recent MFA grads an opportunity to make connections with other artists and arts professionals, and to nurture their early artistic careers.

“After achieving their master’s, the next most important step for young artists is their professional debut in a reputable professional gallery,” Ober says.

Engaging event meanwhile provides you, gallery-goer, the opportunity to tour and purchase new art by gifted young people of powerful creative vision, their names not currently household, but we’d wager might well soon be. Show will include emerging artists from the Maryland Institute College of Art, the University of Maryland at College Park, Towson University, and the University of Maryland Baltimore County.

We can’t wait to check out work by Amy Boone-McCreesh, who earned her MFA in painting from Towson—Amy builds ultra-abundant, confetti-colorful installations from found objects, secondhand fabrics, and celebratory ephemera. All artists convey unique themes. Wun Ting Wendy Tai, a new MFA from MICA’s Rinehart School of Sculpture, is a mixed-media artist whose work references post-colonialism and multiculturalism—she “attempts to address the effects of cultural and social hybridity in a poetic and ephemeral manner.” Jill Fannon, armed with an MFA in imaging and digital art from UMBC, creates her bold images with the aid of new technology. MICA grad Adam Junior, a sculptor from Long Island, says he’s preoccupied with building structures that are at once contained and impenetrable alongside those that are vulnerable and codependent. We definitely dig his piece, “Nowhere Else to Go,” which assembles numerous small white houses that seem at once ready to house a human family or a searching flock of birds. Linling Lu (MFA, MICA Hoffberger School of Painting) recently completed a series of paintings, which allow her to “embrace the beauty in various chances [or nuanced moments] of solitary mediation.” Her gentle works likewise beckon the viewer to a most meditative place.

Emerging wunderkinds Katie Taylor, Jesse Burrows, Sarah McNeil and Rob Guevara also to display recent work.

“MAP is very excited about the fourth installment of Young Blood,” says Sofia Rutka, MAP program manager. “The nine artists in this year’s exhibition were selected based on the strength of their work, exemplary of the recent MFA graduates in the Baltimore area.”

So, see you there Wednesday, June 29, 6-8, for opening reception and artist talks. Show runs until August 27.

Maryland Art Place
Power Plant Live!
8 Market Place, Suite 100
Baltimore, MD 21202

Established in 1981, MAP inspires, supports, and encourages artistic expression through innovative programming, exhibitions, and educational opportunities while recognizing the powerful impact art can have on our community.

For more information: [email protected]